COVID-19: Italy to deploy the Army writes that in Campania and Lombardy army units are deployed to enforce the ordinances on travel bans. Specifically, highlights the newspaper, that

114 military units of the Army of Safe Roads will be used directly in the control of the containment measures for the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Nothing strange so far, because the Italian Public Security Law provides for the possibility for the Minister of the Interior to make use of the armed forces in the event of a state of public danger.

The normative source in support of the intervention of the Army, however, is not the state of public danger or a specifically approved law, but – according to – Law 125/08 (named “safe roads”) which, as can be read on the site of the Ministry of Defence.

Provided for the possibility of employing military personnel belonging to the Armed Forces for specific and exceptional crime prevention needs in metropolitan or densely populated areas.

With a questionable choice of legislative technique, the extension of the tasks assigned to the armed forces (inter alia, the intervention after the 2009 earthquake, protection of jubilee sites) was ordered not by a new law, but by a decree of the Prime Minister, although, as we read again on the website of the Ministry of Defence, according to art. 7bis of Law 125/08

The plan for the deployment of Armed Forces personnel is adopted by decree of the Minister of the Interior, in agreement with the Minister of Defence, after consultation with the National Committee for Public Order and Security (CNOSP) supplemented by the Chief of Defence Staff and after informing the President of the Council of Ministers.

If this is the case, then using the “safe roads” law to allow the armed forces to control the territory and cooperate in containing the COVID-19 contagion is not possible.

When the decree of the Minister of the Interior, which according to art. 7bis paragraph II defines the plan for the employment of personnel, is published, perhaps we have a clearer picture of the situation.

In the meantime, I come back to this post, about the short circuit of law and the blackout of democracy: I do not discuss at all the opportunity to use the Army to ensure public order and security.

What is hardly acceptable, understandable and justifiable is the use of shortcuts that alter procedures and institutional relations.

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